NTSB updates I-95 tanker investigation

| Friday, January 16, 2004

On Jan. 13, the National Transportation Safety Board dispatched a “Go Team” to investigate the crash of a tanker truck that that killed at least four people as the truck departed a ramp where Interstate 895 crosses Interstate 95 in Elkridge, MD.

What follows are some initial results of the investigation:

  • The tractor involved in the accident is a 2003 Freightliner Daytripper model; the tank is a 2000 Heil 406 model. 
  • Shortly before the crash, the truck was loaded with 8,800 gallons of premium gasoline at a Citgo facility in Baltimore. With an estimated 100 gallons already in the tank, that would have resulted in 8,900 gallons of product in a 9,200-gallon tank. Investigators have obtained and will be studying a video purportedly depicting the tank truck being loaded with product before the accident trip.
  • Ending at the point where the truck turned over, the team measured 165 feet of tire marks. There are other marks that might extend that measurement, but they cannot be positively associated with the truck involved in the accident.

Meanwhile, examinations of the vehicle are continuing. A similar truck will be used as a point of reference for investigators as they try to determine whether the truck had any pre-accident mechanical deficiencies. 

“This process is understandably difficult due to the severe fire damage the truck sustained,” the NTSB said in a statement.

Additional work this weekend will focus on lining up tire marks, checking track widths and attempting to discern the positions of the truck during the accident sequence.

Two more U.S. Department of Transportation agencies have been added as parties to the NTSB investigation: the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They join the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police and Petro Chemical Transport Inc., Addison, TX, the operator of the truck, as parties.

In coming days, investigators hope to interview family members of the truck driver, continue examining the accident vehicle, examine maintenance records on the truck and tank, examine motor carrier records and gather medical records on the driver. A blood sample from the driver has been obtained by the Safety Board and will be sent to a federal lab for toxicological analysis.

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